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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

This is an excellent sleeper hit!

9/10
Author: Andy Steinberg (afnaste@yahoo.com) from South Hadley MA US
17 March 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think this movie got such a low overall rating because most people didn't understand it or appreciate it, perhaps it didn't strike so close to home as it did for me. The telepathic man who is either channeling his evil, crazy dead mother or creating her ghost through his own powers was the most haunting and chilling since Norman Bates in Psycho. The scenes in the mental hospital were incredibly accurate, having worked in one myself. The female doctor trying to help the telepath was very touching, and although I thought that the other doctors and cops would turn out to be two-dimensional villains I was pleasantly surprised when they turned out to be normal human beings with faults and compassion in the end. The times that the telepath projected his horrors onto others in self-defense was difficult viewing, disturbing yet necessary and very important. The scenes with lobotomy and ECT should remind all of us of the very real non-fiction horrors buried in American medical history, experts so sure of themselves that they self-justify doing terrible things to peoples' brains. I won't give away the ending but it was very ambigious and shocking.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Truly underrated horror film.

8/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
10 September 2004

A suicidal mental patient(Zelijko Ivanek)turns his horrific nightmares into reality by choosing receivers for his demented thoughts from the local hospital.Psychiatrist(Kathryn Harrold)realizes the young man's power and tries to save him."The Sender" is a very creepy horror film that has slick production values.The acting is surprisingly good and the film perfectly mixes reality with unsettling hallucinations.There is only a little bit of blood,but the atmosphere of dread and fear is easy to feel.There are some wonderful moments of pure horror like the scene where an Etc machine is switched on and an entire operating room erupts in a slow-motion explosion.The film is relatively obscure,but if you get the chance watch it.8 out of 10.Highly recommended.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

An excellent "lost" horror film

8/10
Author: Wayne Malin (wwaayynnee51@hotmail.com) from United States
24 May 2000

This film was released with an glut of really bad horror films in the early '80s and got lost in the shuffle. That's a shame--it's one of the best of its type. There's no masked killer chasing down brain dead teens. It's about a young man (Zeljko Ivanek) committed to an institution because he tried to commit suicide. He believes his dreams can kill. A kind psychiatrist (Kathryn Harrold) tries to help him. Then his creepy mother (Shirley Knight) shows up insisting he be put in her care--but she keeps disappearing.

There's very little violence or blood and guts but it's very scary and suspenseful. The ending is (now) old hat but was pretty original when this film was released. Any movie that can scare you silly with a shot of a middle-aged mother walking to her son (see the movie to find out why it's scary) is one hell of a horror movie in my book! Add to that a beautiful music score and excellent performances by Knight and Ivanek (who has gone on to be a top character actor). The only debit is Harrold who's pretty terrible. Still it's well worth seeing.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

* * *1/2 out of 4.

Author: Brandon L. Sites (brandonsites1981@yahoo.com) from Click on my name for over 500 horror movie reviews!
14 September 2002

A doctor (Kathryn Harroler) tries to find out why a telepathic young man (Zelijko Ivank) is unleashing his nightmares and visions into the minds of the staff and patients and causing them injury. She thinks his weird mother (Shirley Knight) my be part of the cause. Crisp, suspenseful thriller with a solid premise and good production values & performances. One of the best horror films from the 1980's.

Rated R; Violence.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

great suspenseful thriller WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Author: callanvass
26 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

awesome suspenseful thriller has great directing VERY good acting and all the characters are amiable and has good characterization the gore is minimal a few blood splashes here and there this was one heck of an engrossing ride it has a chilling ending a great score and very amiable characters this is very hard to find luckily i found at my local video store it was sad haunting and very creepy only one problem it ended too abruptly and it was kinda confusing to understand don't be fooled by the bland looking cover box this is a true forgotten gem that i recommend it highly the dreams are pretty cool and the rats creep me out out the opening scene where he tries to commit suicide was disturbing ***1/2 out of 5 and the scene of him walking the water that was disturbing as hell if ya ask me

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Better Than Other Films From The Time

6/10
Author: Space_Mafune from Newfoundland, Canada
29 September 2002

A young amnesic man is admitted to a mental ward following a suicide attempt. Dr. Gail Farmer is called upon to help him try and regain his memory. She soon discovers the young man possesses frightening telepathic abilities.

This film starts off extremely well and builds up a strong tale full of mystery, suspense and horror. A number of overdone shocks and the final ending however hurts the film. Kathyrn Harrold does provide a tremendous performance as Dr. Gail Farmer.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Sender

8/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
15 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An suicidal amnesiac(Zeljko Ivanek), with enormous telepathic power, is brought into a psychiatric hospital to determine what his identity is. The doctor over his care, Dr Gail Farmer(Kathryn Harrold) begins seeing her patient's own nightmares, seeking to understand why he's plagued by such horrific images that keep him from sleeping normally. Meanwhile, once an attempt at electroshock therapy yields a devastating link to the other patients in the hospital(..not to mention, the staff and security, often experience his nightmares as well), the efforts to heal "John Doe #83" are of a major concern of all involved. It's determined that he is a "sender", his abilities to transfer what he thinks and dreams to others heightened thanks in part to his perhaps deliberate amnesia due to a past traumatic event(s)which is better to forget than re-live. Farmer often receives communication from her patient's mother, Jerolyn(Shirley Knight), by telephone and startling appearances..what makes these visits so strange is the fact that no one else sees her come or go through the hospital into her office. Soon Farmer is led to believe that Jerolyn may be the root cause of what is tormenting "John Doe #83" and she will have to fight for him for his very life might be at stake.

One thing I stand amazed about in regards to the horror genre is the constant discovery of gems that you have never heard of until word of mouth leads you to them. THE SENDER is such an example. Through a few people on this site, I found out about the movie and I was pleasantly surprised to find it available on DVD. Everything about the movie is top-notch. The acting from a superb cast(..especially Harrold, a wonderful, underrated actress and the sterling Shirley Knight with the kind of character who's really spooky), the ever-developing plot always unleashing startling scenes of shock and unpredictable images(..rats, roaches, blood dribbling from shattered mirrors, not to mention the show-stopping electro-shock sequence where the staff are "affected" by their attempt to "help" their patient, sent hurling through the air, crashing into equipment and through windows), really creepy score which hits all the appropriately effective notes, and the stunning cinematography from Roger Pratt(..who's one of the best working today, notable for such films as TROY and a few of the HARRY POTTER movies).

I think THE SENDER is such a success because it handles such a subject as dream transference and telepathy in a matter-of-fact, clinical way, trouble and care provided in developing the characters. In other hands, this could've been incredibly hokey and an object of ridicule. The professional look and feel of the film really sets this apart from other films of it's type. Highly recommended to science fiction / horror fans, also of definite interest to the "asylum" genre crowd, I think. I'm a big fan of "telepath" horror themes, so THE SENDER did the trick nicely. One of character actor Zeljko Ivanek's first big roles and he's very effective in a haunting performance.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Why isn't this film more famous?

9/10
Author: (Vomitron_G) from the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids
12 August 2009

More people should really seek out and watch THE SENDER. And the less you know about this film before going into it, the better. All you need to know about the plot, is the set-up. The film begins with a skillfully crafted, ominous scene in which a man (John Doe #83/The Sender) tries to commit suicide (how, you just have to see!). He doesn't succeed, and gets submitted to a mental hospital. From there on, the doctors have to find out who he is, and what his problems are. And rest assured, the more they discover, the creepier things get. This is a rather unique film, worthy of a bit more recognition. A bit slow in pace to some, perhaps, but for me the pace and rising tension were perfect. If any of you enjoyed films like Richard Franklin's PATRICK (1978) or Douglas Trumbull's BRAINSTORM (1983) - this one's maybe a bit of a stretch, as it's more sci-fi/thriller/drama orientated - then THE SENDER comes highly recommended.

Aside from the steady pace of lingering creepiness & mystery, I found that there were at least two real "WTF?" moments in this film. Two scenes that took me by surprise in a way I didn't know whether to cheer or be terrified. A very good (psychologically tinted) horror film, indeed! Yes, I'm rating it highly, but compared to some of the trash I watch on a regular basis, this film deserves some extra praises. And Paramount should really make an effort to release a worthy DVD edition of this film, adding a commentary track by director Roger Christian and maybe some other fine special features. Their 2008 release features only the film and nothing more.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Confusing and Bizarre but yet... an intriguing thriller.

8/10
Author: Lucien Lessard from Canada
12 November 2008

An mysterious young man (Zeljko Ivanek) tired to kill himself by drowning in a lake. He's been sent to the Mental Hostipal... supervised by his Psychiatrist Dr. Gail Farmer (Kathryn Harrold). Gail is starting to experienced strange things and the young man transfer his horrific nightmares to his doctor, other doctors and the patients in the hospital.

Directed by Roger Christian (Battlefield Earth, Masterminds, Nostradamus) made an intriguing, solid, suspenseful horror/fantasy film. This has effective performances by Ivanek, Harrold, Paul Freeman and Shirley Knight. This is probably forgotten by now but it sort-of went on to be a Cult Classic.

The DVD from Legend Films (Which is a division from Paramount). DVD has an fine anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an good Dolby Stereo 2.0 Surround Sound. There's no special features on the DVD. Director Christian certainly has an eye by creating genuine shocks and suspense but too bad... his later films never topped his first one, which is this picture. Slow going at times and confusing but certainly an well made movie. (****/*****).

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Not bad at all, but it won't necessarily send shivers down your spine.

6/10
Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
26 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A suicidal young man suffering from amnesia (Zeljko Ivanek) is admitted to a state mental hospital where his psychiatrist, Dr. Gail Farmer (Kathryn Harrold) discovers that her new patient has remarkable telepathic powers, being able to subconsciously transmit his thoughts, dreams and fears.

The Sender is a well directed, low-key chiller that features strong performances and some brilliantly executed scenes (the electro shock therapy sequence alone is worth the price of admission), but it is a film that I struggle to recognise as horror, since once it has been established that the disturbing occurrences are actually visions sent by John Doe (as the patient is known), any genuine sense of threat is eradicated: after the vision has ended, everything returns to normal, which doesn't make for a very scary viewing experience.

If anything, The Sender is a psychological mystery that leads the viewer on a merry dance wondering precisely how matters will be resolved; unfortunately, when all is said and done, the story doesn't really amount to much, with John Doe being released back into the community, supposedly cured, but in actuality, right back where he started (and free to try and kill himself once more).

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